What are the Network Topology or Physical Topology in Data Communication


The term Network  or physical topology refers to the way in which a network is laid out or a network is setup physically .

Two or more devices connect to a link with two or more inks from a topologies.

“The topology of a network is the geometric representations of all the links and linking devices(usually called nodes) to one another”.

There are four basic topologies are present  and one Hybrid topology is also possible.

I.            Mesh

II.            Star

III.            Bus

IV.            Ring  &

V.            Hybrid

Mesh Topology::

In a mesh every device has a dedicated point to point to link to every other device. We need n*(n-1)/2 links to build up a mesh network.



i.            Require less number of device

ii.            Reliable communication


i.            High maintains cost

ii.            Requires huge amount of wire.

 Star Topology::

In star, each device has a dedicated point to point to link  only to a central controller, usually called a Hub. The devices are not directly linked to one another. In Star network links are required as same as node that is n.

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i.            Star topologies is less expensive than the mesh network.

ii.            If one link fails only that link is affected. All other link are remain active.


i.            Dependent on one single point that is  Hub.

ii.            More Cables are needed.

iii.            If hub is damage then whole star system will be damaged.

  Bus Topology:

Bus topology refers to the point to point to connections. One long cable acts as a backbone to link all the devices in a network. In bus  we need n+1 link to build it. Here node or every station is connected to the bus cable by drop lines and taps.

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i.            Easy of installation

ii.            Efficient path by backbone cable.

iii.            Requires less device and wire.


i.            Difficult re-connection & fault isolation.

ii.            A fault or break in the bus cable stops all transmission.

iii.            Less security.

Ring Topology::

In ring  each device has a dedicated point to point to connection with only the two devices on either side of it. A signal is passed along the ring in one direction, from device to device until it reaches it’s destination. Each device in the ring incorporates a repeater. Here we need number of n links to build ring network.



i.            Relatively easy to install.

ii.            Easy to reconfigure

iii.            To add or delete a device requires changing only two connections.

iv.            Fault isolation is simplified


i.            A break in the link can disable the entire network.

ii.            Unidirectional traffic.

  Hybrid Topology:

A topology that is built from bus and star topology is called Hybrid..

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Dear learner you can also learn about LAN,MAN and WAN Network methods and   how to setup a LAN connection with their various network components.

image source: jsati & novell.com

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